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Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL controversy tells us a lot about music’s double standards

Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL performance over the week stirred up a lot of drama. However, it seems that her Danelectro Dano ’56 baritone shattered more fragile male egos than the Studio 8H floor.

The live TV footage of Phoebe Bridgers’ performance of I Know The End went viral soon after airing, unfortunately for the wrong reasons.

It’s an understatement to say that some people were not happy, Jan, about a female musician destroying a guitar on stage. Why? The keyword is “female.”

Phoebe Bridgers
Photo courtesy of NBC

From arguing that the instrument should be respected, to conversations around wastefulness and violence, the thinly-veiled misogynistic tweets came pouring in soon after.

The mostly all male Twitter users voiced their disappointment, disgust, and discontentment about the performance, but the main D-word here should be double standard. As mentioned by Rolling Stone yesterday, trashing a guitar has been a Rock ‘n’ Roll trademark since the sixties, with Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Van Halen, and Pete Townshend all famously giving their instruments a good whack.

Guitar World also pointed out that Nate Walcott, who was playing the horns in Bridgers’ performance, once pulled the same stunt by smashing a guitar on The Late Late Show to finish the Bright Eyes’ song Road To Joy.

Bridgers even had the express permission and blessing from Danelectro to do as she wished with the guitar. “I told Danelectro I was going to do it,” the singer replied to one Twitter user. “And they wished me luck and told me they’re hard to break.”


Yet, when Bridgers took her chance to adhere to tradition on live TV, the musician received criticism from veteran rock musician David Crosby. Crosby, who has spent the last 48 hours sharing his two cents on the matter, started off by referring to the performance as “Pathetic”. To which, Bridgers curtly replied, “little bitch.”

When Crosby lobbed his opinion that he prefers “people who can actually write songs” over the metaphorical net, he received a “whiny bitch” right back.

The onslaught of Tweets showed that the music industry (and its fans) still have a long way to go in terms of respecting and making way for stellar rock chicks, such as Bridgers.

Bridgers also took to Instagram to say on the matter, “got some really great feedback from my performance! Next time I’ll just burn it and it will be more expensive,” hinting to the internet trolls that underneath her skeleton onesie is a thick skin.

 

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A post shared by Phoebe Bridgers (@phoebebridgers)


That being said, there’s a lot to say about the popularity and power of strong female musicians who don’t fret (pardon the pun) over the opinions of middle-aged dads and greying rockstars.

The next Twitter user to step into the Phoebe Bridgers vs. Patriarchy ring should be afraid, very afraid.